Boise & Garden City

This Boise City Council member has decided not to seek re-election this year. Here’s why

A Boise City Council member says he will not seek a second four-year term in the November election.

Scot Ludwig, a 59-year-old lawyer and developer, said Wednesday that his council work is so time consuming that it has put stress on his full-time law practice.

“I want to give somebody else the opportunity to have the honor I’ve had,” he told the Statesman in a phone interview.

Three other council members’ seats and the mayor’s job are also on the November city ballot. Mayor David Bieter and council members Elaine Clegg and Lauren McLean, the City Council president, are expected to seek re-election.

Ludwig, the council’s only Republican, praises all three of them.

“I highly urge Boiseans to re-elect them,” he said. “They’ve been great leaders.” Bieter, he said in a separate statement, is “the finest mayor in the country.”

Bieter appointed Ludwig in early 2015 to finish the term of David Eberle, who resigned after moving to Garden City. Ludwig won election that November with 70 percent of the vote. Bieter, Clegg and McLean won in that election, too.

Ludwig receives $28,000 per year for council service and said he donates all of it to charity, primarily the Women’s and Children’s Alliance, which works to combat domestic violence and sexual assault. Ludwig lost a sister to domestic violence.

On current issues, he said:

Have a stadium vote: Ludwig supports the idea of “a voluntary, advisory vote” on a proposed new baseball stadium west of Downtown “to get all the information out there.” A new citizens’ group has called for a referendum on the stadium and the proposed new Downtown library. Boise’s acting city attorney has called the proposed votes unconstitutional.

Ludwig said he strongly supports a stadium, and Boise is at risk of losing it if too much more time passes. “Time kills deals,” he said.

Don’t have a library vote: However, he does not support a citizen referendum on the proposed new Downtown library. The stadium would be a public-private partnership, while the $85 million library is fully within the jurisdiction of city government and is best left to the City Council to decide, he said.

Don’t make Hill Road denser: Ludwig opposes high-density residential development along Hill Road Parkway in Northwest Boise, where a proposed apartment project last year prompted neighbors to organize and fight. This stance puts Ludwig at odds with Bieter, who favors denser development there. “That’s what you get when you get a citizen council member,” Ludwig said, laughing.

Bieter vs Dicaire 12-11-18 cropped IMG-0670.jpg
Are proposed apartments on Hill Road Parkway in Northwest Boise affordable housing or a threat to the area’s rural charm? Lori Dicaire, an activist who opposes the apartments, argues with Boise Mayor David Bieter, who supports them, after a City Council meeting Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018. David Staats

Buy the water company? Ludwig wants Boise to consider buying its water system, now owned by Suez, “to ensure the future of water quality, quantity and low cost of water.”

He also wants Boise to evaluate cost-sharing arrangements with surrounding cities to make sure it isn’t paying more than its fair share, and to obtain a long-term lease for the Boise Art Museum.

Ludwig declined to rule out running for another public office sometime. “That’s to be determined,” he said. Meanwhile, he expects to stay on the board of Boise’s urban-renewal agency, the Capital City Development Corp., which “is much less time-consuming.”

“I like being involved in trying to fashion the growth of the community in a smart way,” he said.

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David Staats is business editor of the Idaho Statesman, which he joined in 2004. He has assigned, edited and reported business, politics, government and other Idaho stories since 2006.Get the top Idaho business stories of the week in a free email every Monday morning. Go here, then press the “Select” button under Idaho Business.